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Young leads Sixers to rare victory over Southwest Division-leading Spurs

PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins stood and waved when he was introduced to the crowd. The fans chanted "E-A-G-L-E-S. Eagles!" at the end of another decisive victory.

A World Series championship is behind Philadelphia and an NFC title game lies ahead. A winning streak may not mean as much as all those big games, but the 76ers have snuck in and gave the city another reason to boast.

Thaddeus Young scored a career-high 27 points, Andre Iguodala had 21 and the surging 76ers won their sixth straight game, 109-87 over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

"We're playing at a high level right now," Iguodala said. "We're just clicking."

The Sixers (19-20) are clicking up the Eastern Conference standings. They can move to .500 for the first time since Nov. 24 with a win Saturday at New York. And they could do it with power forward Elton Brand (shoulder) back in the lineup for the first time since December.

At this rate, why rush him back?

"We aren't even thinking about whether we can do it with or without him," said guard Willie Green.

Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx was in the house. World Series champions Rollins and Jayson Werth also stopped by to watch the 76ers extend the longest winning streak in the NBA.

"Philly bringing all the stars out now," said a smiling Green.

None of their famous guests generated the buzz quite like the Sixers did at the buzzer. The Sixers surprisingly pulled away against the Southwest Division-leading Spurs thanks to three looong-range shots.

Iguodala hit a 28-footer to end the first quarter, a 44-footer to end the first half and Lou Williams buried a 28-footer to end the third.

They go down on the stat sheet as 3s. The desperate heaves meant so much more in momentum swings to each team.

"It kills you," said San Antonio's Tim Duncan.

Iguodala tried to get the ball to Williams on the first one, only to fire the ball off on one leg with time ticking off. On the next one, Iguodala said he simply tried to "get some lift" on the ball.

"That felt good," he said.

The Spurs were the fourth team with a winning record the Sixers beat on this streak, proving that they might be ready to make some noise in the Eastern Conference. The Spurs won 108-106 on a buzzer-beater in San Antonio on Jan. 3 to end Philadelphia's 1-5 road trip.

The Sixers haven't lost since.

"It should have been our time a long time ago," said center Samuel Dalembert. "Hey, things already happened. Now we're going out there and making a difference."

Iguodala is playing some of the best basketball of his career in Brand's absence, and the Sixers will need to find a way for the swingman to keep getting his touches.

Brand said he was "50-50" to play against the Knicks.

Dalembert completed an alley-oop, then a regular dunk in the third for a 13-point lead. Iguodala followed with a sweet baseline spin move around Bruce Bowen and finished the play with a reverse dunk for a 75-59 lead.

With the crowd yelling for the Sixers to get the ball to Iguodala as the final seconds ticked off the quarter, Williams dribbled his own defensive rebound down to the first seat of San Antonio's bench and let it fly. Bang! Three buzzer beaters and an 85-70 lead.

The Sixers carried that momentum into the fourth quarter and used a 12-0 run to lead by a staggering 26 points.

"We're supposed to be a pretty good defensive team and it hasn't looked like it for a while," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "We're not the team we've been in the past couple years on the defensive end. It's really troubling."

Williams finished with 14 and rookie Marreese Speights had 13. Young made eight straight shots in one stretch from the floor, with the final bucket making it 64-53. Young was 11 of 15 from the floor.

Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points and Matt Bonner had 13.

"I think they just overall outplayed us," Duncan said.

Sure, the Sixers are playing tight defense, but it's the offense that's sparked the turnaround. Coach Tony DiLeo wants his team to score off the break and shoot 3s. The 76ers did both nearly flawlessly. The outscored San Antonio 30-6 on the break and were 8-for-14 on 3 pointers. Iguodala, Williams and Royal Ivey each hit two.

The Sixers hope this is the start of something bigger and not just a two-week hot streak.

"Every team is looking at us now," DiLeo said.

Game notes
Foxx is in Philadelphia shooting the movie "Law Abiding Citizen." ... 76ers guard Andre Miller said he planned to attend President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday. ... The Spurs signed veteran forward Austin Croshere to a 10-day contract. ... The 76ers are on their first seven-game winning streak since Feb-March 2007.